On interest and debt repayment according to the Bible

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Guysanto
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On interest and debt repayment according to the Bible

Post by Guysanto » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:52 pm

The prohibition on interest is based on God's covenant with Israel.

The rule is based upon the compassionate treatment of various oppressed groups: the resident alien; the widow; the orphans; and the poor.

Exodus 22:25-27
If you lend to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like the money lender; states the law in explicit terms: “charge him no interest. If you take your neighbor's cloak as a pledge, return it to him by sunset, because his cloak is the only covering he has for his body. What else will he sleep on? When he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.”

Leviticus 25:35-37 provides that “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so that he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you. You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at profit.”

Finally, Deuteronomy 23:19-20 provides: “Do not charge your brother interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.”

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You think that is interesting. Imagine that you lent someone the money, interest free (of course) and the borrower failed to repay you within seven years.

Nehemiah 10:31b:
"Every seven years we will let our fields rest, and we will cancel all debts." - Contemporary English Version

Deuteronomy 15:1-2:
"Every seven years you must announce, "The LORD says loans do not need to be paid back." Then if you have loaned money to another Israelite, you can no longer ask for payment.
- Contemporary English Version

"At the end of every seventh year you must cancel your debts. This is how it must be done. Creditors must cancel the loans they have made to their fellow Israelites. They must not demand payment from their neighbors or relatives, for the LORD's time of release has arrived.
- New Living Translation

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Post by Guysanto » Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:20 pm

I received the above information from a friend. Tayi and Gelin, what do you make of it? Are these precepts still to be observed? Are they no longer valid because there now is a new covenant with the Biblical God?

Tidodo, you are our favorite banker. What are your views on this subject?

Anyone else? How do modern-day believers reconcile their way of life in a capitalist system with those biblical verses and the Lord's commandments?

Tidodo
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Post by Tidodo » Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:45 am

Guy,

It seems to me here that the texts, written during old times, are referring here to lending of money to someone to survive hunger and lack of shelter - charity. While seeing that way makes a lot of sense, what are the limits? There are billions of people in need of food and perhaps a good shelter in the world. When and where do you stop and say:"It is no longer my problem." Do you limit yourselves to those who ask you only, or those being your neighbors, or living in your state, your country? As the world becomes global, defining your neighbor, as in cyberspace or on an airplane, becomes very blurry.

Now, do the texts apply to someone who is borrowing money to become richer? Will the same standards apply? If the borrower profits from the loan, do you apply a different standard to the part of the profit used for food and shelter (charity portion) versus the parts saved or used to buy luxury items? How would you separate them to apply the different standards. While all the texts cited are not written the same way, my guess is that the idea behind them is the same. Is this relevant for today's environment.

By the way, did the texts have a provision for borrowers using fraudulent means? Sorry, Guy, but I have more questions to answers in an effort to analyse the texts. Help!

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